Between a Rock and a Stylish Place

This column is dedicated to Lee Alexander McQueen, who made clothes that were both appropriate and outrageous.

Word on the street is that 2010 is shaping up to be a better year than 2009. Fresh starts are always exciting—a new job, a new season, a new love—and a great reason to shop. Other transitions, such as changing careers or becoming a mother, call for wardrobe additions and deletions. However, the real challenge comes when age 30 has passed and 40 is just around the corner and you are still wearing the clothes bought for your first job. Tackling the in-between years is all about resetting, rewinding and learning from past fashion transgressions.

What have we learned? There were evenings that ended dancing around with girlfriends at 5 a.m. in a nightclub. There is nothing that can take back that terrible sexy-blouse-and-of-the-moment-denim ensemble that will forever exist in pictures. Personally, I fear that several skirts in my closet are too short for someone my age. In times of turmoil, it is best to ask someone you admire questions such as, what do I look good in and what is appropriate?

In Las Vegas, there are two uniforms: One for daytime that consists of a sweatsuit or other sorted gym-looking attire; and the other that comes out around 10 p.m. and includes a tight cocktail dress and sky-high heels. I’m pleading for an intervention.

One of my sources for age appropriateness is Alicia Gomez, a dear friend, who has been a consultant at Dior for many years. She tells me there are two rules when examining a wardrobe to see if it is aging gracefully. The first is to be brutally honest and aware of your body and state of being. Wonderful advice it is. Stand in front of the mirror and really look at what is working and what isn’t. Assess, regroup and make the changes needed. Leave no room for letting yourself off the hook. The second piece of advice she shares is for the husband, who can be held responsible for his woman looking ridiculous. He needs to tell her that she does not fit into something anymore, or that she would look divine in this dress, not that one. Sometimes we need another set of eyes.

Henri & Odette Gallery owner Jennifer Cornthwaite constantly scours the runways for the hottest trends, styles and designers. Contact her at